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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 9, 2010 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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relationship with the retailer and food-service distributor. with a that said, it would be difficult to see a buyer. really because they have been consolidated too. there is one buying ten categories so they're very busy and that is the relationship of the things they value. we take care of quality with all those things, what about the value in relationship? that is how you see business year to year. .. competitive with that said. both of our major food suppliers put us out with a bid this year and lost businesses we've had for years to a chinese importer. you still have to be competitive, but i think those things you add, the things that they value in the relationship are important, or i know they are, and then we have to keep it every day. >> that particular relationship
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is sort of outside of where we are on consumers, but i will say there's a small, but growing segment of consumers who are settling their own relationships with farmers and places that provide food in farmer's markets and things that are going directly to the source and getting their food that way. >> the issue of margins is often the topic of discussion that comes from the producer level and a retail level. some have said a retail or a packer profit margin is very thin. now, without getting any kind of proprietary information generally speaking, what are the margins that a retailer contends with or what does it take to generate a profit? what are the fixes variable costs that retailers operate under and packers pass those costs on down the marketing chain? >> i'm happy to address that,
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mr. attorney general. profit margins in the industry are very thin. we're talking a penny on the dollar, and i think there's a misconception to meat is of >> i think is a misconceptiontht the stores. w th iat k'snow when i joined industy thought it was assumed but it's not the case. it's frequently a loss leader. the margins on meetma are considerably lower than the margins on the average product in the store like other -- store. now, like other products, competition is really fierce on meat. there's been discusses about the farm-to-retail spread determined by erf, and how the long term trend shows that spread widening, but i think it's far too simplistic to look at the spread between the farm price and retail price and assuming the retailer is making profit on the meat. it was cautioned about using the data in that way and stated the
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retail value figure they figured overstates retail values and it's not a good measure of what consumers are paying in the store. one of the reasons is because it's not volume weighted. you want prices that generate demand, and a huge portion of the meat products sold are on sale or on special. there's also an assumption in the erf data that supermarkets sell beef from a wholesale car cues from the day they purchased it from the farmer which we know that's not true because of the time it takes. the cost we face, of course, are transportation, warehousing, labor, refrigeration, rent, overhead korsts, and those are not reflected in the spread data, and these costs are high, and they are growing. it's also important to consider that we can't really pass those costs on downstream. it's very difficult because of
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the intense competition on price, so it's also important to contemplate that supermarkets just want meat too and restaurants and exports have become more important. usda say the retail price has less of an affect on retail prices than they have in the past. >> where do you look for profits? i mean, where do profits come from if meat is as you say, sometimes a loss leader or the mar margins are very small? >> yeah, profits are higher on packaged goods. >> okay. >> and they are a little higher in produce too, so those are some of the areas where the profit margins are better, but they are really, really narrow. >> how about dairy? >> i don't have the dairy data in front of me, but i can go
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through the files and get that. >> i can add to what you just said there about the costs are not passed down. you're stuck with them. i agree. a large margin of them are not big in that, but indirectly, all costs when the consumer quits buying comes back down to the producer. they come back down to the wholesaler, and the whole wholesaler has one or two things. he can drop prices to you or cut production. he has costs to meat and production lines he has to keep busy, so usually the alternative, and nearly 100% of the time is to lower his procurement costs. indirectly all costs do come back to the producer. >> we've also talked in addition to relationships about the word drains paraphernalia sigh and --
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transparency and i'm interested on all the panelists commenting on this about the market chain and what you know about your piece of it or whatever it might be or whatever your organization whatever piece your organization might be involved in. do you believe there's adequate transparency in communication in the chain today? if you do, fine. if you don't, what changes would you suggest we consider? let me start chris, if i could start with you. >> sure. i would just point, again, to the information needs of consumers, and how those are not always met. an example of that is country origin labeling which was thought for a long time basic information where commodity products come from. we do not have that information. that's not on all products. it's not on packaged goods or
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dairy and some other areas, but that's an area, again, where consumers could have more information to be better informed when in the marketplace. >> yeah, i would say you're right, chris. i didn't think of the dairy in the transparency, but there is transparency of what our customers ask us about retailers. they need to know where the products are grown for recall as well. we have farm business every year, and then on the information side, they need transparency to know where the products are at all time all the way from distribution and pickup. >> about pricing? is there adequate transparency in pricing? is there adequate information for a producer to know that they are getting a fair price? >> oh, for our producers, it's pretty simple because we're all
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-- they have commercial price negotiations, so all of our products are represented by associations like the california tomato growers association or the peach association, so there is a mechanism to cool all of that, and then find it. it works well. if our producers are not getting the price they need, we see the supply go down, and we don't negotiate, but our target internally is to meet commercial price, or we wouldn't have a co-op if we didn't do that either. >> as far as transparency as the label offering, there's producers out there that are willing and many of them are working with that now today to identify their product and pass along that information on to the wholesalers. whether it gets on to the retailer and customer, that's a big if. i suspect a lot of that gets
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lost along the way. i have neighbors documenting where the calfs are born and the treatments they've had and when they are born, but you never see that at the retail counter. it may help sell the product to the retailer, but i don't know if the consumer is getting that. transparency on price, there is no transparency. we're at the mercy of whatever they want to give us out there. 66% of the markets are now through contracts, and many of them are open-end or alternative marketing agreements, and those really are working against us because they have a group of cattle under that contract that they know they are coming on such a date, and if there's enough cattle in there, they don't put kids on any of the cattle like through the auction markets. they tell the buyers not to bid because they have enough for a
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week or two, or if there's an import product coming in, that works against us too. they may even use that nonbidding process and they own a lot of cattle themselveses, 10% of the cattle that go through a packer owned cattle, and they can bring them in and not have bids for a week or two, and those are cattle on feed to wait longer on feed and that increases our price too. basically, there's no transparency, has not been any, and the best reference to this is the fact that in the farm to retail spread, we've lost 20% of our retail value between 1970 and 2002, and if you check that out, the wholesale end has picked up 20%. >> there's no question that prices are more transparent for consumers at the retail level.
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i just got a smart phone not that long ago, and it has a bar code application in it, and i can scan the product in the store and get a price online for them and see what other retailers are charging, so that's quite remarkable, and it's driving competition and making the consumer even more aware of the prices, so i think the trend is with increased technology and more of these apps, we're going to be seeing even more competition and more transparency. >> erik will show you that app at the conclusion -- [laughter] >> transparency in the market place is very effective in the life stock industry. that is very well driver by usda demand for price reporting. the packers report all their transaction on the life stock as well as their sale of products, so that information on the value of the product is very available.
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it's online. it's a very timely information multiple times a day. i think when you think about pricing in the life stock area, it's all out there for the industry to look at. when you start talking about things like price from farm gate to retail, all the sudden they are losing sight of what they are trying to be transparent on. this -- when you look at -- when you look at price trends and compare it year to year, you're really apples and oranges at best. just looking at the meat industry, a few key things i would mention that have changed the spread from farm gate to retail or to food service, when you start thinking about regulatory changes, food safety changes, food safety alone in the last ten years, the number of additional interventions included in the packing
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industry, the cost of regulatory impact of that, the cost of recalls, the cost of testing, the additional costs that have been incurred by the industry just to get products through the process totally differ from the way they were 20 years ago, and as you said, looking at key things, product changes. all of you can remember a retail market and the traditional trim was a half inch of fat up to an inch of fat. that's not there anymore. that product has changed. the process has changed. it's really erroneous to start looking at a trend compare year to year. it's requiring different information to see that spread. if there's a lack of information or transparency is really misguiding. >> from a producer's stand
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point, i don't see any transparency. from the time a farmer plants a seed or births an animal, you are looking at the long term commitment there. dairy farmers, these cows have to be milked every day. when you have a sale for this milk, whether you get 1600 or $21 per week, you still have to milk the cow, and in the case of where that money goes, a plant of watermelon seeds in 90 days is ready to be harvested. i have a parishble product. consumers can use that because they know what we are growing has a life span. we have to move the product. we need that support of the safety net from usda, from the justice, and from the industries.
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we are secured by a prayer in the marketplace so we can survive. transparency i don't personally believe it's there in that sense from the producer side. >> a last question to a follow-up of what ben was saying. it's obvious that producers need packers just as packers need retailers and the marketing outlook. everybody here works in agriculture in one form or another. as a wrapup, i'll make you kings of the industry. you have absolute power. what do we need to do to make sure all segments are profitable and there's fairness in the market. what would you do, total power to ensure profit abilities and fair -- profitability and fairness? ben, you. >> if i were the king, i would do with the all the major
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corporations. [laughter] >> that'll take care of it then. >> yeah. [laughter] >> while i'm king, i'll do it a little differently. [laughter] i think, of obviously, food is essential, and the more cost effective that process can be, the better, so i think the more we can strengthen the communications and relationships between the producers of life stock to the ultimate consumer, the more efficiencies you build in the system, the more, the better quality, the meeting of needs. with that said, everybody in the sector has to be in a profitable situation. that doesn't exist. packers incur certain costs that need to be dealt with, but in order for the industry to survive, you have to maximize the total marketplace, and that's looking at things. if i were king of the day, we'd do away with the market access
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issues we're having. it's limbing the ability to cash in on the physical -- full value of life stock. we need to take out restrictions and the burden that's in there to make it more streamlined and more efficient for everybody in the whole marketing chain to be successful. >> well, -- and that's just left with the best food in the agriculture system in the world. we enjoy the safest, best quality, freshest, and best food in the world. everybody here deals with that system. they have expanded access to quality and american goods to the american people and both usda deserves a tremendous amount of credit for that miracle which is our food system. it's a question of improved quality of life, and this is essential to the american way of
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life. competition is why our food system is so phenomenal. our retail profit margins are thin, and surveys show that shopper satisfaction continues to rise and 6 out of 10 people recommend their store to a friend. the purpose of the antitrust laws is to protect competition, not competitors. competition is more intense that it has ever been in the grocery industry, and consumers are benefits greatly from it, so this competition must be maintained. >> i agree with what was said on communications to keep communications in this industry, and if we do enjoy the faith of food in the world at this present time, the producers out
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there, a lot of them are a very patriotic bunch. they realize what they have in this country, and most of them want to continue to see that this is a great country, and there's great concern out there by the amount of food that's not coming from our country anymore, and that some of our better food that is being ground and added to that product to make it better, but there's still a safety factor in there. i would say a lot of producers are concerned about that. as far as competition, we -- the best thing as producers can use out there is a lot of people, and i've heard it here since i got here, are talking we don't need more government telling us what to do and all that, but we had the packers act since 1971, and it's done nothing to us. we need some rule if packers are going to remain in this game,
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otherwise we'll see producers in mexico, canada, other places. you won't know of an american producer pretty soon unless it's a giant firm that's running tens of thousands of cattle out there with a contract with the packer. the family element is in real danger as far as production in agriculture is concerned, so i guess the best thing we need to do something now and quick, and the best way to enforce the rules has been proposed in the last year, and i guess i would like to see these rules enforced. there's things that may have to be addressed in them in the final rule and changed to make them more workable and everything on that, but these rules are designed to prevent the injustices from happening, and part of these rules also say that if those injustices continue, they will give me or any other producer out there the same options to go into court just like any other american or any other american industry or entity, so we need to have the
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rules and we need them immediately. [applause] .. >> you know, i do believe our system is ultimate effective in competition. primarily because of the consumer. that's why retailers, consumers will go next door if they don't get. that goes all the way down to us. and forcibly the last person to get -- to get produced. what i think works well, the one thing i would ask if i were king is for a day, we are asked to do a lot of things. especially in california with environmental air, we have 4000 teamster jobs so we provide good wages. we do a lot of things that i
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think are important. and i think ultimately are good for our country here, it's veryc difficult when we get in import where none of those things areei required, except for price. tho somehow that value that has to be, is applied when you farm ini america, i don't know where thau comes from. it has to be recognized. >> i'm a consumer advocate so i >> i have a long list of things that i would change if i were king for a day. to hit on a couple for the purposes of this discussion, one would be information as i saidoe before.uld be inf that's important for consumersor need to have decision, and whena there in the marketplace. m access, i would improve access , but specifically healthy nutritious food that is affordable, particularly for low income. and because i do most of my work i do have the safest food supply
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of the world. it's not as good as it needs to be and can be in a 5000 people to get sick every year -- die every year from foodborne illness and that is something that i would approve. >> well, thank you all very0000 much. we are going to give the attorney general an opportunity0 to close, but before i do, i0 want to thank the panelists for their informative and interesting conversation and on0 that points out the complexity of these issues that we're0000 dealing with and the difficulty in determining at what point to
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and then the second panel will be focused on margins in the dairy industry. mark tobey was a special account for agricultural antitrust division of the department of justice will moderate a panel discussion. and that'll be followed by public testimony, an opportunity for people to put their comments into the public record that are assembled from these meetings. they will be a break for lunch and then we'll have a third ammo focus on issues in food retailing, going into more of the issues that we talked about briefly in greater depth. again, sure as those in who is the chief of staff of the food division will moderate the decision. i will be followed by a break and then the final panel which will begin the livestock and poultry industry. jay's journal was from the usda will be moderating a conversation. what havoc in additional conversations for public testimony if we hadn't included
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all of the remarks earlier and then we will close hopefully sometime around 5:30 this afternoon. i want to thank everyone. general. he made a pledge to be fully participating in these hearings and i appreciate the fact that he has traveled and not christian varney has traveled to his to the folks who are farming the land and you are responsible for the food supply we take sometimes for granted, a food supply that is abundant. if that's what it does provide us greater flexibility their paychecks and most of the folks around the world have any food supply that comes from folks who really do believe that the basic fundamentals of this country and you simply want a fair shake in return. so mr. attorney general, for his stories. >> loafers, i think i saw the other panel that i participated
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in conversations that we've had this one for me but has been extremely enlightening. i think were talking about, you know, a segment -- a fact or of our economy that's really more than that. it is defined, i think, what the country has been over the years, who we are as a people, who we are as a nation. and i think it's an important thing for us to focus on because they think we will find who we will become in the 21st century and even beyond. our concern that the justice department as well as agriculture is to ensure that we have fairness in a good and important part of our economy, that it is as profitable as it possibly can be and that we put as much transparency into the system as we possibly can. so that ultimately all components, all parts of the sector do well and that the
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american people ultimately are the beneficiaries of our action. we are under bernie's leadership determined to stay tied with agriculture in ensuring those three things. as i said fairness, profitability and transparency. unestablished between justice and between agriculture that did not exist before, that existed before. our pledge and the obama administration is to stay involved, continue to listen. we have thoughts, we have ideas, but we know that we don't have all the answers. but as i think one of the real values in these workshops that we have had. we will use the information that we claim from these workshops and then from the thousands of comments as i said that we have received as we are developing enforcement policies, practices so that we do all that we can to ensure the continued viability
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of this very important part of our economy. so it's been a real pleasure for me to be on this panel with all of you any real pleasure to have this new relationship with my colleague at the department of agriculture. >> we will reconvene at 10:30. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> c-span2, one of c-span's public affairs offerings. weekdays live coverage of the u.s. senate and weekends booktv, 48 hours of the latest nonfiction books. connect with us on twitter, facebook and youtube, et cetera for scheduled alert e-mails at >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in this thursday morning. senators will vote on starting work on two bills, the dream act, opening the way for children of illegal immigrants who joined the military or go to college to become u.s. citizens. and a measure to provide health care compensation to 9/11 first responders. if those bills fail to move forward, democratic leader harry reid says he will bring up the defense department authorization bill, for the next year. senators rejected an attempt to begin work on the bill in september, contained a repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy on gays in the military.
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also today several senators planned farewell speeches including robert bennett of utah, byron dorgan of north dakota, and jim bunning of kentucky. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span2. source of all life and fountain of all blessings, accept our thanksgiving and praise. today be a shepard to our lawmakers enabling them to lie down in the green pastures of your providence and to walk beside the calm waters of your blessings. inspire them to dedicate themselves to speak for life, to act for justice, to work for peace, and to strive to serve
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you with faithfulness. may they respond to your abiding love with grateful service. lord, be merciful to all who labor for liberty. bless them. look on them with kindness so that they may know your will. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., december 9, 2010. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten gillibrand, a senator from the state of new york, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, there will be a period of morning business leader remarks, senator durbin will be recognized. following his remarks the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to the dream act. the time until 11:00 will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders and their designees. at 11:00 we will proceed to a series of two to three roll call
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votes. the first if cloture is not invoked, the second would be the motion to invoke cloture on the motion motion to proceed on the james zandroga act. if cloture is not invoked, i may consider the previously failed motion on the cloture vote to proceed and then we have what i said here, madam president, is if we don't invoke cloture on the 9/11, i will likely move to reconsider that vote so that we can move to that at some subsequent time and i also will likely sometime today move to reconsider the previously failed cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the defense authorization bill. several senators will deliver their farewell speeches, senator bennett of utah will deliver his remarks. senator bunning will speak at 1:00 and senator dorgan will deliver his remarks at 2:00 p.m.
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this afternoon. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: mr. majority leader. mr. reid: i ask that the quorum call be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: mr. majority leader. mr. reid: we have a piece of legislation that passed last night in the house of representatives. i received a call last night, i guess it was around 9:30, 10:00, from both the majority leader and the speaker that the so-called dream act had passed in the house. that changes things over here. it changes things because we had been toiling on this for a long time and it -- now that it's passed the house, the way to proceed would be to have a vote
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on that matter because if we're able to pass it, it goes directly to the president. having said that, i think it would be really futile for us to have a vote on a motion to invoke cloture on a bill that we know won't matter. so what we'll do is i'm going to ask consent to vitiate the vote and to schedule it for 11:00 on the dream act and that just to alert everyone we have not given up on the dream act. quite the opposite. it having passed the house, gives us more energy to move forward on this most important piece of legislation. madam president, the stories that relate to this dream act are really compelling to me of these young men and women who want to be able to complete
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their education, want to be able to go into the military, and serve their country and in the process they're not guaranteed citizenship. they're guaranteed that they won't ab be arrested or deported and be given a green card to prove that they are eligible for citizenship. so we're going to proceed and do everything we can to pass what the house did. so having said that, madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the vote scheduled on the dream act at 11:00 be vitiated. the presiding officer: is there an objection? the senator from georgia. mr. sig isakson: objection. the presiding officer: objection is heard. that's correct, under the previous order the leadership time is read served, under the previous order senator durbin is recognized to speak up to 10
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minutes. mr. durbin: thank you, madam president. madam president, 10 years ago i received a telephone call in my chicago office that i have recounted on this floor many times, but it started me on a journey that resulted in war we stand today on the passage of the dream act. it was a phone call from a korean american mother with a -- an amazing daughter who was a musical prodigy, who had been accepted at the juilart school of music. when she was asked on the application on citizenship, she said, mother, what do i put here. she was brought her at the age of 2, the mother didn't file any papers. so that little girl was undocumented. lily illegal in the eyes of some. she asked us for help. what can we do to help in this
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situation? here was a bright young woman with a bright young future who had done everything right and excelled in so many ways and we contacted the immigration service and they said, it's too bad. under american law, this young girl who never consciously did anything wrong in her life was a person without a country. her only recourse at the age of 18 was to return to korea. a country she had no knowledge of. couldn't speak the language, had never visited at any time in her life. when i heard about, that i thought that is fundamentally unfair. this young woman did nothing wrong. the mother made the mistake. the mother didn't file the papers and now her life was in shambles and uncertain because of it. so i put in a bill, and it basically said if you are in that situation where you are brought to america at a young age and then proceeded to do the right thing with your life, go to school, make certain that you
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are a good member of your community, that we'll give you a chance when you graduated from high school. a chance to prove yourself that you were going to be a good citizen in america. you could prove it one of two ways, you could do a noble act for america, stand up and volunteer to serve in our armed forces. literally prepared to risk your life for this great nation. and if you did that, then we would put you on the path a legalization. or if you didn't choose military service, you could prove it by your educational achievement. now, most of the people we're talking about are not korean or polish or filipino. they are hispanic. and the numbers tell us that the odds are against the young people we're talking about. half of them don't finish high school. only 5% of these undocumented students end up going into a college of any kind. think about those odds. 50-50 that you finish high school, one out of 20 that
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you'll even enter college. so we put a high wall and said you have to clear this wall to prove that you're not only a good person but that you desperately want to be part of america's future. that's the "dream" act. and in the process, we said we are going to ask you more questions than we ask of a congressman or a senator. we are going to ask questions about your background, your moral character, your knowledge of english. we are going to really follow you closely, carefully. and if you stumble along the way, we can't help you. it is a very strict standard that we impose here, but it's one that these young people are anxious to meet. these young people that would be affected by the "dream" act are some of the most amazing, inspiring people i've ever met. in your home state of new york is a young man, cesar vargas. i told his story on the floor
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yesterday. came to the country from mexico at the age of 5, went through school. then on 9/11 was so angry about what happened in your city of new york, he went to the recruiter and said i want to enlist in the military, i want to serve and defend this country against terrorism. and they said, mr. vargas, you can't because you're undocumented. you can't join. because, you see, our military has not waived the requirement of legal status for those who want to enlist. and so he continued his education. he is now in his second or third year at the new york university law school. i have met him. extraordinary man. he speaks five languages. he could be, as you know, senator, he could be a catch for a law firm, this young man with all these skills and all that drive. that's not his goal. he wants to be part of our military still, to be a lawyer in the military today. that is his ambition. he is a "dream" act youngster, young man. why would we say no to him?
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why would we turn our back on him and say we don't need you? we know better. secretary of defense robert gates has said yes, we need him and many more like him who can come into our military and make them better and stronger and more diverse and really build up a tradition of service in the military which will extend for generations forward. secretary gates knows that the "dream" act is in the best interests of the defense of america, and secretary arne duncan, our education secretary, appeared with me yesterday and said these young people who have overcome the odds and finished high school and want to go to college and be lawyers and engineers and doctors and teachers, these are the people who can build our base of success in the future. why would we turn them away? at a time when we're debating about importing talent from other countries to meet our needs in america, why would we turn away the talent of america? those who are here today who are only asking for a chance. last night in the house of
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representatives, there was an amazing vote, an incredible vote. passing the "dream" act. it's the first time, i believe, that it's passed the house of representatives. i want to credit my colleague and great friend, congressman luis gutierrez who worked night and day, and i also want to thank the men and women of the house who showed the courage to vote for it. one of them called me late last night and was emotional about this decision, wondering if it would have a long-term impact on their political career, but that congressperson had the courage to step up and do it. now, the question is will we have the courage to do the same? our leader here, majority leader reid, has asked to vitiate the roll call this morning, which is basically to put it aside because he believes that that bill is not a bill that is viable under the circumstances now that the house bill has passed. the minority leader, senator mcconnell, has come to the floor repeatedly and said that we shouldn't be having these
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so-called symbolic votes, even on the "dream" act. well, senator reid this morning said well, then let's take a symbolic vote off the calendar and wait until we receive the house message, and there was an objection from the republican side, so they clearly are arguing it from both sides. be that as it may, we owe it to the young men and women whose lives will be affected, we owe it to america who needs their service and the military -- in the military and needs their skill in building our economy to honestly address this issue and ask members of both sides to sit down, pause and reflect as to whether or not we can afford to say to these talented young men and women there is no place in america for you. there is a place. there is a place for them as there was a place for my mother who came to this country at the age of 2 as an immigrant, whose mother and father could barely speak the english language but who eventually gave birth to a son who stands here today as a senator from the state of illinois. my story is an american story.
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the story of these "dream" act students is an american story, of fighting against the odds, of coming from other places, determined to be part of this great nation and making a contribution that makes a difference. i pray that my colleagues will reflect on what happened last night, that historic vote in passing the "dream" act, and that before we leave, before this congress packs up and leaves, that we will address this issue and pass it, too. i see the minority leader is on the floor, and i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: madam president, i rise in tribute to my good friend and distinguished colleague, senator sam brownback, or could i also say governor-elect sam brownback of the great state of kansas. sam promised his constituents that he wouldn't run for more than two full six-year terms in the senate, and sam has honored that pledge. and let me just say at the outset that sam has been an outstanding senator and an example of principled leadership to us all, all of us here. he has served the people of
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kansas with great distinction and honor, and i'm certain that he will continue to do so as he takes on new challenges in topeka. sam is a born leader. he was raised in a small town of parker, kansas, where his mom and dad still live and farm today, and his many talents were evident early on. in high school, he was state president of the future farmers of america. as an undergraduate at kansas state university, he was elected president of the student body, and he was elected class president in law school, too, at the university of kansas. after law school, sam worked as a lawyer in manhattan, kansas, for four years before being appointed as secretary of the kansas board of agriculture. from 1990-1991, sam was accepted as a white house fellow under president george h.w. bush where he worked for the united states trade representative. three years after that, he ran for congress as part of the republican revolution and was
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overwhelmingly elected to kansas' second district. it was the first time in sam's life that republicans had the majority in the u.s. congress, and he was a part of it, and he planned to make the most of it, focusing on limiting the size and reach of the federal government. sam's tenure in the house was brief. in 1996, just two days after senator dole announced his plan to resign from the senate to run for president, sam announced he would seek the republican nomination in a special election to serve out the final two years of dole's term. sam handily defeated the former lieutenant governor who had been appointed to fill senator dole's seat earlier that spring. in the general election, sam's campaign message was simple. he called it the three r's, reduce, reform and return. reduce the size and scope of the federal government, reform congress, return to basic values that had built the country, work and family and the recognition of a higher moral authority.
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sam's message resonated with the people, many of whom feared their government had become, as sam stated, their master, not their servant. and easily defeated his opponent with 54% of the vote. sam would go on to be re-elected to full terms in 1998 and 2004, capturing an astounding 65% and 69% of the vote. while in the senate, sam has been a leader among his peers. he has been outspoken and fought hard for the people of kansas and for the underprivileged around the world. sam is an ardent defender of life and the protection of the unborn. i see it as the lead moral issue of our day, sam said, just like slavery was the lead moral issue 150 years ago. sam opposes roe v. wade, has 100% pro-life voting record and sponsors numerous bills in support of the unborn. in 1995, sam was diagnosed and treated for melanoma, and it had a profound effect on his life.
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with the cancer, i did a lot of internal examination, sam said. my conclusion was that if this were to be terminal, at that point in time i would not be satisfied with how i had lived my life. i had tried to be a christian, but i had failed. surviving cancer, sam found out just how precious life was and with his new lease on life, sam began to devote his life and work in the senate to humanitarian causes around the world. sam has actively fought to bring awareness to the genocide in darfur. sam supported the sudan peace act of 2002 and the darfur peace and accountability act of 2002. in 2004, sam visited darfur to see violence and suffering firsthand, and that same year, he supported the congressional declaration of genocide. in addition to his advocacy work on sudan, sam has worked on numerous other humanitarian challenges throughout the world,
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including iran, afghanistan, uganda, the congo, pakistan, ukraine, china, north korea and vietnam. arguably, snowe -- no senator, no senator has done more to press human rights and democracy, wrote the weekly standard, or to stop the spread of deadly disease such as malaria which kills 800,000 children in africa every single year. in the senate, sam has crusaded for his humanitarian causes in a bipartisan fashion, including cosponsoring the iran democracy affect with senator evan bayh, cosponsoring the north korea human rights act with the late senator ted kennedy, and what sam calls his greatest achievement, cosponsoring the trafficking and victims protection act with the late senator paul wellstone. another one of sam's passions was his role as chairman of the senate values action team. the group consisting of outside organizations met weekly to
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discuss matters of faith, family and religious freedoms. over the years, they worked together to strategize on efforts to protect the sanctity of life, school choice, and much more. sam devoted countless hours to this organization and rarely, rarely missed a meeting. in the senate, i relied heavily on sam's expertise and his leadership. he was always someone i looked toward, whether it was for guidance or perspective on many different issues. sam served on numerous committees, including the appropriations committee, the joint economic committee, the senate committee on commerce, science and transportation, and the senate special committee on aging, as well as the senate committee on energy and natural resources. in 2008, sam announced he would honor his pledge to only serve two terms in this chamber. sam will be missed, but his service to kansas will continue. last month, sam was elected the
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governor of kansas with 63% of the vote, winning 103 of 105 counties. i want to congratulate salmon his impressive victory, and i cannot think of a better public servant or leader than sam brownback for the people of kansas. on top of all sam's accomplishments, he's a loving husband to mary. they met in law school and have been married for 27 years. together, mary and sam have five children, including one adopted from guatemala and one adopted from china. my family has been personally touched by adoption, sam said. my wife and i adopted our two youngest children, and i continue to experience joy from the relationships we have built through our adoption experience. i think that right there tells you all you need to know about the type of character and person sam brownback is. sam, this chamber honors you today for your service to this nation, to the state of kansas,
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and to the millions around the world that dream of a better life. thank you from all of us, and good luck in the next chapter of your life. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. levin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: madam president -- the presiding officer: under the previous order the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 3992 which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 663, s. 3929 -- 3992, a bill to authorize the cancellation of certain alien students who are long-term united states senate and who entered the united states as children and for other purposes.
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mr. levin: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to proceed as though in morning business for 10 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: madam president, we've enacted a national defense authorization act every year for the last 48 years and we need to do the same this year. this year's bill would continue the increases in compensation and quality of life that our service men and women and their families deserve as they face the hardships imposed by continuing military operations around the world. for example, the bill would extend over 30 types of bonuses and special pays aimed at encouraging enlistment and reenlistment and service. it would continue tricare for eligible dependents of service members up to the age of 26. the bill will improve care for our wounded warriors by addressing inequity the in rules for involuntary separations
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based on medical conditions and requiring training programs on the use of pharmaceutical for patients in wounded warrior units. the bill will authorize the service sects to waive maximum age limitations to allow certain highly qualified service members who served in operation enduring freedom to enter the service academies. it will provide our troops with the equipment around support they need to continue as long as they rail on the battlefield in iraq and afganistan. for example, the bill would enhance military's ability to rapidly acquire and field new capability and respond to urgent needs on the battlefield by expanding the department of defense's authority to waive statutory requirements when needed to save lives on the battlefield. the bill will fund the president's request fo
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for $116.000000000 -- $11.6 bill for $116.000000000 -- $11.6 bill ion to train the afghan army and police to prepare them to take over by the july 2011 date established by the president for the beginning of reductions in u.s. forces at that time. the bill will extend for one more year the authority for department of defense to transfer equipment coming out of iraq as our troops withdraw -- and to transfer that equipment to the security forces of iraq and afganistan providing an important tool for our commanders looking to accelerate the growth and capability of these security forces. the bill would promote the department of defense's cybersecurity and energy security efforts, two far-reaching initiatives that should strengthen our national defense and our nation. if we fail to act on this bill, madam president, we will not be able to provide the department of defense with critical new
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authority and extensions of existing authorities that it needs to safeguard our national security. for example, without this bill the department of defense will either lose the authority that it requested to support counterdrug activities of foreign governments, use premium pay to encourage civilian employees to accept dangerous assignments in iraq and afganistan and provide assistance to the yemeni counterterrorism unit. it could have serious owens force the success or failure of ongoing military operations around the world. i recognize that this bill includes a handful of conscientious provisions on which there's disagreement in the senate. some of those provisions i support and others i objected to and voted against in committee. one of those provision sincere the one that would repeal don't ask, don't tell 60 days after the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs certified to congress that implementation of
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repeal is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention in the arm forces. the armed services committee held two excellent hearings last week to consider the final report of the working group that reviewed the issues associated with the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. the report concluded that allowing gay men and women to serve in the united states armed forces without being forced to conceal their sexual orientation would present a low risk to the military's effectiveness even during a time of war and that 70% of surveyed service members believe that the impact on their units would be positive or a mixture of no consequence at all. general casey, chief of staff of the army, testified that the assumption underpinning don't ask, don't tell is -- quote -- "the presence of a gay or lesbian service member in a unit
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causes an unacceptable risk to good order and discipline." and then he said, "after reading this report, i don't believe that's true anymore. and i don't believe -- this is general casey speaking -- a substantial majority of our soldiers believe that's true." after considering the report secretary of defense gates urged congress to pass this legislation this year so that the repeal of don't ask, don't tell could be implemented in a well-prepared and well-considered manner rather than by abrupt judicial fiat which he described by far the most disruptive and damaging scenario he could imagine. close quote. to the extent that some of the service chief express concern about the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, their concern's focused on the timing of the repeal and the adequacy of time to prepare for implementation rather on appeal itself.
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secretary gates testified that -- quote -- "he would not make the certification until he was satisfied with the advice of the service chiefs that we had, in fact, mitigated, if not eliminated to the extent possible unit cohesion an effectiveness. all of the service chiefs testified that they were comfortable with the ability to provide military advice to secretary gates and have that advice heard. the only method of repeal that places the timing of the repeal and the control of implementation in the hands of the military and department of -- the department of defense is the provision contained in this bill. by contrast, if don't ask, don't tell is repealed by a court decision, the service chiefs will have no influence over the timing of the repeal or the implementation of the repeal. now, despite the differing views over this and other provisions
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where there are differences of opinion, we should not deny the senate the opportunity to take up this bill, which is so essential for the men and women in the military, because we disagree with some provisions of the bill. these are legitimate issues for debate. and i believe the senate should debate them. but the only way we can debate and vote on these issues is if the senate proceeds to the bill. the disputed provisions can be addressed through the amendment process. madam president, as you well know, this is a crucial matter for resolution. and our presiding officer has played an instrumental role in getting the don't ask, don't tell issue before this body and before the country. and i commend her for it. we need to resolve it. the only way to resolve it is to get to this bill. we have currently 50,000 u.s.
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soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines on the ground in iraq and twice that many, roughly, in afganistan. while there are some issues on which we may disagree, we all know that we must provide our troops with the support that they need as long as they remain in harm's way. senate action on the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2011 will improve the quality of life of our men and women in uniform. it will give them the tools that they need to remain the most effective fighting force in the world. and, most importantly of all, it will send an important message that we, as a nation, stand behind them and appreciate their service. now, madam president, this bill runs some -- excuse me -- some 850 pages. the house bill -- the counterpart bill -- runs more
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than 1,000 pages. even if we get 60 votes today to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to this bill, and even if we're able to consider amendments and pass this bill in a few days, it will be a possibly insurmountable challenge to work out all of the differences with the house. over the last 10 years, madam president, it has taken an average of 75 days to conference the defense authorization bill with the house after we pass it. if we don't proceed on this bill this week, then invoking cloture sometime next week, even if we can do it, it would be a
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symbolic victory. and i don't believe that there would be enough time to hammer out a final bill before the end of this session. i don't believe in symbolic victories. this bill is a victory for the people in uniform. it's essential for the people in uniform. we should not act symbolically in their fame and for their sake we should act in reality. but the only way that this will be real and that the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, assuming we continue to keep it in the bill, will be real is if we proceed to the bill this week. we cannot and should not delay this vote any longer. i thank the presiding officer. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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a senator: will the chairman withhold that just one moment? mr. levin: madam president -- the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i would ask unanimous consent that the time on this quorum call that i will be asking the chair to bring on be equally divided on both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: now i ask for an absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: madam president, i rise to speak on a bill that you, madam president, have spearheaded the charge for and done it with such hard work and determination and commitment and vigor, and that is the bill to provide health care for our 9/11 heroes, those men and women who at a time of war rushed to danger to save lives and protect our freedom. we have met with these brave men and women repeatedly. some of them are suffering already, with cancers they acquired for their act of bravery. others know it is an almost
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certainty that they will come down with similar diseases and illnesses that are extremely costly to fight. and, madam president, we have had a grand tradition in america. those who risk their lives to protect us and volunteer to do it under no compunction, we remember them when they get hurt in that brave endeavor. we do it for our veterans. we should be doing it for our 9/11 heroes. the first responders, the police, the firefighters, the e.m.t. workers, the construction workers and the ordinary citizens who rushed to danger at a time when no one knew how many people might be living and entrapped in those collapsed towers. and i would plead with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, this should not be a moment of politics. one can come up with reason after reason after reason why not to vote for this bill, and
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we've heard many, and the reasons keep changing, but one fact doesn't change. there are those who need help, who deserve our help, from new york and new jersey and connecticut and from every other state of the union, and to them, a parliamentary decision that we can't vote on this because there's another bill we want to vote on first, because we would change this or that are going to ring very, very hollow. this should not be a partisan issue, madam president. this should be an issue where america unites. when it comes to helping our veterans, we are united. that is not a democratic or republican issue. that is not a northeast-southwest issue. it is an issue of being an american.
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this vote is about being an american, because from the days at bunker hill, when the patriots put down their plows and took up muskets to defend and create our freedom, we always tried to take care of them. we have done it better and better for our veterans, and the heroes of 9/11 are no different. so i beg, i plead, i implore two great colleagues from the other side to join us, put aside the political considerations, remember what these people did for us. you've seen them when they visited your offices, the suffering, all for an act of voluntary heroism. they're not asking for welfare. they are not asking for huge handouts. they are simply asking that they be able to meet the high health
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care costs that occur when you develop cancers and other illnesses because particles of glass and cement and other materials get lodged in your lungs or your gastrointestinal tract. so this is our last call. it's a plea. we will keep at this, but today is the day to step up to the plate. i urge my colleagues to please support those brave men and women who were there for us, for america. do not come up with an excuse as to why not you can't do it. we have marched and marched and marched, and this is the finish line. help us get over it, please. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: madam president, i rise to speak on the two pending
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votes before the senate. i want to follow first my distinguished colleague from new york and the presiding officer who has made this one of her passions, picked it up when i first introduced the jim zadroga act and then took it when she came to the senate and has done a magnificent job and brought us to this moment. james zadroga is a new jerseyan who spent 450 hours at the world trade center site, a new york city police officer, who simply had a paper mask on as his only protection. he and so many others who answered on that fateful day did not question their personal security, did not give it a second thought, did not think about their health, did not think about the consequences that would flow -- the potential
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consequences that would flow from the exposure they were having. they thought only about responding, saving lives and meeting the nation's need, the nation's need. not new york's need. the nation's need. and for jim zadroga and so many others, the consequence of that selflessness has been enormous. in many cases, they have died. in other cases, they have serious life-threatening illnesses. in other cases, they have real disabilities as a result of those illnesses. now, i remember on that day after the attacks on september 11 how we came together on the capitol steps, how we declared our commitment of purpose, love of country and commitment to those who died on that fateful day to their family and to those who responded.
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i remember the incredible words, glowing, soaring that were spoken about the bravery of those men and women who responded from all over the country. and those who are the victims of the exposure that they received on the grounds of september 11 come from every state in the union. this is not simply a new york issue or a new jersey issue where so many of our first responders came to. these are individuals who came from across the country, who come together as americans to respond on that fateful day. this requires each and every one of us in the senate to respond to all of those americans from every state who ultimately find themselves, through their selflessness, exposed to
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life-threatening illnesses. a grateful nation not only joins together in commemoration on september 11 of each year, a grateful nation shows its gratitude to those who answered the call without concern for their well-being by how we take care of their health care, how we take care of their disabilities and how we take care of the families of those who ultimately lost their lives in service to the country. this is no different than the men and women who wear the uniform of the united states and go abroad to defend the nation. these men and women wore uniforms, too. some of them with the uniform of a police officer. some of them wear the uniform of a firefighter. some of them wear the uniform of
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an emergency management personnel. some of them wear ultimately first aid squads. but all of them on those fateful days wore a uniform that served the nation. how can the nation forget them now? that's what this vote is all about. now, i cannot accept as a moral equivalent that some oath not to vote on those who served the country, risked their lives cannot take place because of some vote on some tax issue. no one in the nation would believe that it is okay to say, well, i will not vote to give relief to the health of those individuals who sacrificed their health on september 11th and the days after because i have to
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wait for some pending tax vote. go back to the men and women who served this country and look at them in their eyes and tell them that it is some vote that i'm waiting for on taxes that determines whether or not your health will be responded to. shameless. i can't wait to see when one of us stands in one of those pictures on commemoration of september 11, and then makes comments about how heroic those individuals were, but cannot pass a simple vote -- a simple vote. finally, i want to move to another topic, madam president. and that is on the question of the dream act. the dream act simply is -- and the house of representatives took a critical step yesterday
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in moving to the dreams and hopes an aspirations of -- and aspirations of young people who know nothing but this country as their country. they've made no choices in their lives to come to the united states. those choices were made by their parents. all they know is that they stand up every day as young students and pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. all all they know is the -- all they know is the national anthem of the united states, they have become valedictorians and have done everything that we expect of anyone of us, particularly of our children, to try to excel and succeed. and overwhelmingly they have excelled and succeeded. and yet their dream of continuing to excel an succeed on behalf of the nation is blunted on the fact that they have an undocumented status in this country through no fault of
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their own. the dream act says if you are willing to wear and serve in the armed forces of the united states and you serve honorably for two years, we will give you a pathway toward permanent residency. if you go to college, assuming that you ultimately qualify, that you are settlement, and that you do -- that you are accepted, and that you do well, we will give you a pathway to permanent residence yism we will adjust your -- residence yism we will adjust your status and permit that dream to take place. this is not amnesty -- amnesty, which i heard some of my colleagues use, and they'll use it on anything that is immigration related, right now they throw out the word amnesty. amnesty is when you get something for nothing. when you did something wrong and you have to pay no consequence. in this case i believe that wearing the uniform of the united states armed forces, risking your life for your country, maybe losing that life
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before you achieve your goal and your dream, is not amnesty. i believe that working hard and being educated so you can help fuel the nation's prosperity and meet its economic challenge, that's not amnesty. that is paying your dues on behalf of the country. and for you to do all of that you still have to wait a decade before your status can be adjusted to permanent residency. so you have to be an exemplary citizen. you have to do everything that's right. everything that we cherish in america. that's what the dream act is all about. and that's why the secretary of defense has come out in strong support of the dream act. that's why former collin powell came out in support of the dream act. that's why the undersecretary for personnel and readiness during the bush administration,
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david chu, came out and said this is, in essence, the very effort that we would like to see. these young people will provide the opportunity of serving the united states in uniform. moreover university professors, respected education association, leading fortune 500 businesses like microsoft support this. mike huckabee explained allowing undocumented children to earn their way. to earn their way. let's not stop young men and women who only know this country as their country. who made no choices on their own. let's be family friendly. let's observe the values. let's pass the dream act today. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama.
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mr. sessions: i would ask to be notified after four minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: madam president, the military has a very fine program now that allows people legally and illegally in the united states to join the military and put themselves on a pathway to citizenship. the fact is that in this bill as is going to work out in reality, 95%, probably 98% of the people who take advantage of this amnesty that puts them on a guaranteed path to citizenship will do so by claiming they have a high school degree. they can be up to 30 years of age. they claim they have a high school degree and then say -- and do two years of community college or even correspondence college work. that's where this huge loophole is and that's why we'll have one million to two million people that are going to seek
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protection under this. what is this about? the american people understand it and they tried to tell this congress, but the congress and the political leadership refuses to listen. what they're saying is, do not continue to reward illegality. do not continue to provide benefits for people who violated our law, please. the first thing you do is don't reward it. the second thing you want to do is to end the mass illegality that's occuring in our country. 600,000 people were arrested last year trying to enter our country illegally at the border. 600,000. this is a huge problem. this administration has sued arizona when it tried to do something about it. they have ended workplace raids that would have identified people who are working illegally and provide americans an
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opportunity to have a job. this bill will cost 5 billion 5 billion -- $5 billion according to the c.b.o., it's not going to pay for itself, and it will allow those with two misdemeanors, you can aplievment and many -- apply. and many people plead to lesser offenses when they're really guilty of more serious offenses and a lot of these misdemeanors are very serious offenses as well. they will be given advantage of this. it's not setup for military. it's not setup for sa valedictorians. it's not setup for people going to harvard. it's setup for people who come into the country, can be brought in illegally as a teenager, they go to high school, they have to be accepted, they get a g.e.d. or get a high school degree and
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they apply and have a safe harbor in our country really indefinitely. and i introduced yesterday a chart showing a google page with a whole long list of places you can order false high school diplomas, false transcripts, false g.e.d. certificates. there's no people funded to investigate any of this. people are going to walk in and say, oh, i'm 30 years old and i came at age 16. i'm in. who's going to go out and investigate that? nobody is. there's no funding to do it and there's no plan to do it. it's just a major loophole. but fundamentally i would say this nation will be prepared as a nation to wrestle with and try to do the right thing about people who have been here a long time and who came here as a young person. but, let me tell you, not until this country brings the
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lawlessness to an end. that is what the american people have told us unequivocally. they shut down our switchboard with so many phone calls not too long ago when amnesty was tried to be passed here. and we don't need to do this. why don't we do the responsible thing? and, finally, let me say this illegality can be ended. it is within our grasp if we have leadership from the top and leadership in the congress and leadership from the president. the presiding officer: you've consumed your four minutes. mr. sessions: i thank the chair and would say we haven't had that leadership and we -- and what will happen three years from now when we have another group that have come illegally at age 15 or 16 because they've seen what happened to the ones that came before. are we then going to say, you don't get amnesty? no. we will have lost the moral high
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ground, the right, responsible effort to have a lawful system in america. we're surrendering to it if we vote for this bill. i thank the chair and will yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. a senator: thank you, madam president, i ask unanimous consent to be allowed to engage in a colloquy with my colleagues. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: thank you, madam president. madam president, as members of this body know that for the past nine months i've come to the floor every week to offer a doctor's second opinion on the new health care law. mr. barrasso: as someone who practiced medicine and taken care of families around the state of wyoming for a quarter of a century. well, each week i repeatedly criticize another of the unintended consequence for this health care law, one that is bad for patients, bad for providers, the nurses and doctors that take care of those patients, and bad for the taxpayers. now americans heard how this law
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breaks most of the president's promises about health care reform. and that, madam president, is why on election day americans across our country spoke out. they called on washington to work to repeal and replace this law. the republicans have answered. we realize we cannot just object to the law. we must do our best to repeal and replace it. and that's why i'm delighted this morning, madam president, to be joined on the floor by senator wicker, from mississippi. he is joining me to talk about his new bill that he has -- that he is introducing today that will allow state officials to challenge federal regulations before those regulations actually go into effect. this will allow states to fight back against outrageous health care regulations that continue to be written. with that, madam president, i'd like to ask my colleague if he would please share with the body and with the country the remarkable bill that you're introducing today. mr. wicker: well, i thank my
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colleague from wyoming, senator barrasso, a practicing physician in his own right. i -- i thank my friend for repeatedly coming to the floor and simply bringing the -- the facts to the attention of our membership and to the american people. this was an unpopular piece of legislation when we were considering it. we wasted most of a year when we should have been talking about job creation and the economy, talking about the over -- overhaul of our entire health care system with the obama care proposal. it was unpopular when it was enacted. it was unpopular when it was signed into law. we saw that in election after election. the two elections in new jersey and virginia. we saw it in spades in the massachusetts election where it was the central issue. but this congress persisted
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against the will of the american people and because of the facts, as presented by dr. barrasso, and also the facts that coming to light and the people are finding out in their own lives with their own insurance policies, this law is even more unpopular and more unsatisfactory than it was at the -- at the very beginning. it should be repealed lock, stock, and barrel. it should be defunded and -- and it should be replaced by something market driven and something workable. now, in -- in -- an additional attempt to address this very wrongheaded piece of legislation, a few moments ago i introduced the tenth amendment regulatory reform act. now, to remind my colleagues the tenth amendment to the constitution explicitly states and i quote -- "the powers not delegated to the united states
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by the constitution nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved to the states respectively or to the people." end of quote. this amendment -- this part of the bill of rights expressly limits the powers of the federal government for important reasons. when we look back to the early days of the united states, it is clear that the founding fathers believed in a limited federal government having just defeated a monarchy with near absolute power our founders sought a different way of governing. one based on controlled size and scope. our founding fathers repeatedly stated their opposition to a federal government with expansive powers. in federalist number 45, james madison wrote -- "the powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are few and defined."
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when have we heard that lately? it goes on to say -- quote -- "those which remain in state governments are numerous and indefinite." this may come as a surprise to people who have viewed the congress of the united states in the past few years. madison wrote the phrase "few and defined." despite this fact, constitutional limits on the federal government are rarely enforced today, and i hope to change this through my legislation. federal agencies routinely usurp the rights of states by promulgating regulations that are contrary to the spirit and the letter of the tenth amendment to the constitution. the code of federal regulations now totals an expansive 163,333 pages. while some of the rules contained in it are necessary, many of them simply are not, adding burdens, headaches and costs for millions of americans and forcing unnecessary federal
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spending at a time when the u.s. borrows 40 cents for each dollar we spend. these rules and regulations also take power from states and they take power from individual americans. this bill would allow states to challenge unconstitutional mandates before these mandates take effect. much of the new health care law gives unelected bureaucrats the power to write rules and regulations required to implement obamacare. overall, the new health care law creates 159 bureaucracies according to a study by the joint economic council. countless federal regulations will have to be written to implement the law. a requirement for americans to purchase government-approved health insurance, a central piece of obamacare, explicitly oversteps the tenth amendment. under no other circumstances do
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we force individuals to pay for something they may not want or cannot afford simply because they are americans, which is what this law attempts to do. many rules and regulations will be required to implement this provision. according to one analysis, the internal revenue service will need to hire 16,000 new i.r.s. employees to enforce this individual mandate. each of these bureaucrats will be governed by agency rules created in the coming months and years, and we read in the paper today it may even be decades before all of these rules will be created. once these regulations are written, it will again require costly and time-consuming court proceedings to overturn them. instead of -- instead of forcing the american people to wait for a remedy, we should have agencies address these problems
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at the outset. and this bill would go a long way to doing that. it would provide special standing for designated state government officials to dispute regulations issued by administration agencies attempting to implement new federal laws or presidential executive orders. under the legislation, any rule proposed by a federal agency would be subject to constitutional challenges if certain state officials determine the rule infringes on powers reserved to the states under the tenth amendment. states are already challenging the massive federal takeover in court because of the mandates on both sides and individuals. i'm proud to say that 43 of the 50 states have either joined lawsuits or taken other official action to stop its constitutional provisions -- its unconstitutional provisions, i might say. this bill would give state
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officials another tool at their disposal to challenge the unconstitutional overreach of the federal government. and so i urge my colleagues to join me in this legislation. it's late in this congress, but there is another one looming with reenforcements coming from the people, and i appreciate my colleague allowing me to join him today in this discussion of a doctor's second opinion. mr. barrasso: i'm very impressed by what you have come up with in this leadership position to -- to take that next step forward to protect our rights that you and i believe are in the constitution and apply to the people of our states and apply to the people of this country. one would -- would hope that everyone would join in. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent to be added as an original cosponsor of this piece of legislation. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. you had mentioned the unelected
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bureaucrats in -- in -- in your comments. there was a story in today's "new york times," and i'd like to ask a couple of questions of you from that story because i think it gets to the -- to the point that you're making. this is by eric lipgow and robert perry. madam president, i ask unanimous consent to be able to put this story from today's "new york times" as part of the congressional record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. it talks about federal rule makers. that's who you are talking about, these unelected bureaucrats. federal rule makers, it says, long the negligented stepchildren of washington bureaucrats, suddenly find themselves at the center of power. the bureaucrats at the center of power as they scramble to work out details of hundreds, hundreds of sweeping financial as well as health care regulations that will ultimately affect most americans. we're talking about not just the health care law but also the
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financial regulation. the one paragraph i really wanted to ask you about, it says but the laws were so broad and complex that executive branch regulators will have wide lee way in determining what the rules should say and how they should be carried out. well, isn't that why we need your piece of legislation, to let the states get in there before some of these rules and regulations are put onto the people of mississippi, the people of wyoming and the people all across the country? mr. wicker: well, the senator is absolutely correct. coming from "the new york times" in particular, this article is an astounding bit of information for the american people, and they need to know about it. i think the american people have the quaint idea that their elected officials, both in the executive branch and in the
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legislative branch, are -- should be the center of power. i didn't come to washington to be powerful, but at least i have to stand before my constituencies every so often and get their approval. what this article says is that the bureaucrats are now at the center of power because of this obamacare legislation and the financial services legislation. we have enacted over my vote and over the senator's vote from wyoming a 2,700-page health care overhaul, and yet we're told the main thing it does is empower bureaucrats and make them the decisionmakers and certainly if -- if this is the result of this unfortunate piece of legislation, a governor or a speaker of the house of representatives at the state level ought to be able to
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quickly and plicial go to federal court and say wait a minute, this is -- this violates the tenth amendment. all we're saying is they need a path to go quickly to the federal court and challenge this. i'm sure the senator noticed this. also here is just one example. in neighboring bethesda, maryland. this new obamacare law has resulted in 200 health regulators rushing to a new facility there and paying twice the fair market value. this is uncle sugar coming in. they can pay as much money as they want to. they pay twice the fair market value in rent, and they have got -- they have taken over three floors of a suburban office building to begin getting started on actually writing the rules that will apply, this
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federal mandate to the people. it's amazing, and you know actually i'll say this to my friend, when we talk about defunding the federal government, i'd like for our appropriations committees, our investigation committees, both house and senate, to look into how they get the right to pay twice the fair market value. mr. barrasso: it's astonishing. i know the people of wyoming as well as the people of mississippi always oppose washington wasteful spending, but when i read that the -- the health care officials are leasing more than 70,000 square feet of space on three floors of this office building in bethesda for 230 employees rushing to rule making, the -- and to see that the government, washington, agreed to pay over $51 for usable square foot, compared with the average of less than than $30 a square foot in bethesda. why? because it wanted to get the
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operation running in july. they were rushing to get to this, but yet also it says that this may only be the beginning. this may only be the beginning. a recent report, not by my colleague from mississippi and not by me, but by the congressional research service, said that the publications of rules under the health care law could stretch out for decades to come. and that's why i'm going to cosponsor this legislation. i have great concerns about states' rights, individual rights being trampled on by a washington government that is out of control in terms of spending and it is doing it in spite of the cries of the american people. so i want to congratulate and compliment my colleague from mississippi for bringing this piece of legislation to the senate today and help joining me
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on the floor as part of a doctor's second opinion, because you don't have to be a doctor to know that this health care law is not good for patients, it's not good for providers, it's not good for taxpayers, and as more and more people see the rules and the regulations come, they will once again see the broken promises by this president who said if you like your health care program, you get to keep it, and then they turn two pages, these rules and regulators, rule makers said they turn two pages into 121 pages, which said for many people in this country, they are not going to be able to keep what they have, they are not going to be able to keep what has been promised to them, and it's because the rules and the regulations are so complicated and the rule making continues. mr. wicker: if i might add, this is really a new chapter in -- in the history of the american federal government. according to the senior vice
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president of the american benefits council -- quote -- "there has never been a period like what we're going through now in terms of the sheer volume and complexity of rule making." my friend, this is unprecedented in american history. the scope, the cost, the magnitude of this legislation is unprecedented, according to the american benefits council. and the point of my bill is that it does violence to the bill of rights, it does violence to the intent of the founding fathers that the federal government be limited in its power and scope and that we leave most of the rights that we are endowed with by our creators, we leave most of those rights to the people and to the states themselves.
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so it's a great privilege to join my colleague today in making these points. mr. barrasso: with that, madam president, i just want to thank and congratulate my colleague for his vision and his foresight and his leadership because that is, i believe, how the founding fathers would have seen it, those who wrote the constitution, i believe, would be on board with this piece of legislation to say, as the tenth amendment does say, the power is not delegated to the united states by the constitution nor prohibited to the states are reserved to the states respectively or to the people. with that, madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. barrasso: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call: quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to three minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor to strongly urge all my colleagues, democrats and republicans, to oppose cloture on the so-called "dream" act. that will be one of our votes in just a few minutes. all of these votes are important. i think that is the most important. mr. president, the reasons we should oppose cloture are very simple and very basic, and they all go to this past election, and they all ask the question: have we been listening at all to the american people? because the american people have been speaking loud and clear on issues that pertain to the "dream" act.
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i would point to three in particular. number one, the "dream" act is a major amnesty provision. there are no two ways about it, it grants at least 2.1 million illegals amnesty and it puts them on a path towards citizenship which will also allow them to have their family members put in legal status in this country. that means when you count all of those people, there are probably two to three times that initial 2.1 million people who will be granted some form of amnesty. when we're not securing our borders adequately, when we're not putting a system in place to enforce workplace security, i think that is absolutely wrong. secondly, we're in the middle of a serious recession. the american people are hurting.
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things like slots at public colleges and universities, things like financial aid for those positions are very scarce and very sought after, more than ever before because of the horrible state of our economy. these young illegals who would be granted amnesty would be put in direct competition with american citizens for those scarce resources. are we really listening to the american people about the struggles they're going through right now in this desperate economy? if we do that, the answer would clearly be "no." and third, what about spending and debt? the american people have been speaking to us loud and clear about that, and yet the "dream" act would increase spending and deficit and debt yet again. so would we be listening to the american people about that were
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we to pass the "dream" act? absolutely not. the "dream" act has at least $5 billion of unpaid for spending in it by all reasonable estimates. you grant amnesty to 2.1 million people and then down the road you can double or triple that when you count family members, of course there is cost to that in terms of federal government benefits and programs and spending, and reasonable estimates say that's at least $5 billion of costs unpaid for, increasing spending, increasing deficit, increasing debt. so if we did that by passing the "dream" act, would we be listening to the american people? absolutely not. let's come to the senate floor and let's perform our first and most solemn duty, which is to listen to the american people, listen to the citizens of our
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states, and truly represent them here in this important body. let's listen to them when they say no amnesty. let's listen to them when they say how difficult their lives are in this horrible economy. let's listen to them when they say control spending and deficit and debt. don't increase it yet again. i propose we listen to them, and i will listen to them and vote no on cloture on the "dream" act. thank you, mr. president, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the leader is recognized. mr. reid: are we in a quorum
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call? the presiding officer: we are. reid scried that the quorum call be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: as i said this morning when the senate came into session, the house passed late last night the "dream" act. i've asked consent from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to vitiate the cloture vote. and that was not grant the this morning. which i think is unfortunate because it is a waste of the senate's time because we need to act on a piece of legislation that is already -- that has already passed so when we send it back to the house -- i'm sorry, when we pass it, it would go directly to the president. we've been told by my republican colleagues that they're not willing to do any legislative birks which i think is untoward and unnecessary and unfair but that's where they are. so that being the case, mr. president, i would again renew my request that we vitiate the vote on cloture that is pending -- that is pending before the senate at this stage.
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the presiding officer: objection has been heard. mr. reid: i move to table the motion to proceed to s. 3992 and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? the senate will be in order. the roll call vote on this matter is 59 yeas and 40 nays. the motion to table is agreed to.
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the motion to proceed, having been tabled, the cloture motion is vitiated. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 641, h.r. 847, the james zadroga 9/11 health compensation act of 2010 signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to h.r. 847, act to aimed the public health service act, to extend services
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to individuals directly impacted by the terrorist attack in new york city on september 11, 2011, and for other purposes -- 2001, and for other purposes, shall be brought at that close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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